I am writing from Cambridge City Council’s Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee. Using the opportunity for members of the public to ask questions at council meetings I asked who had been appointed to the residents’ representative and independent retailer representative on the new city centre management partnership – “Love Cambridge”. I noted the published timetable stated the decision would be made last week.
I was told that John Carter who runs jewellery company Cellini on Rose Crescent, had been appointed as the independent retailer representative. The meeting was told he was the individual put forward by “Cambridge Independents”, a group of independent retailers.
The residents’ representative was announced as being “Nicki Morris” (Presumably Dr Nicola Morrison), a university lecturer in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. We were told she was appointed for her personal and professional skills and that she is a resident of the city centre.
I sought, but did not receive, a commitment that the council would release a press release naming these people; I stressed the importance of publicising who these people are so that those who they are going to be acting as an advocate for can get in touch with them. I had to attend a council meeting and ask a question to find out their identity, that wasn’t really good enough.
I asked additional questions about the general openness and transparency of the new organisation and suggested that the next iteration of board member appointments ought be done with more involvement with those the individuals will be expected to represent. Cllr Cantrill said that it would operate to the council’s standards of openness, pointing to the fact Love Cambridge will be audited.
Justifying the planned “members only”, rather than publicly (and search engine) accessible, website proposed for Love Cambridge, the council officer responsible Emma Thornton said: “we have to offer some added value to our members”.